Ottawa company launches collaborative workspace, scholarship for smaller organizations

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For many small businesses and not-for-profits in Ottawa, advanced communications strategies aren’t in the budget. For post-secondary students working for these companies while earning  their education, getting the money to expand their skills can prove to be difficult.

MediaStyle creative director Ian Capstick in The Commons, the firm's new collaborative workspace 

By Marc Shaw

To help with this, Ottawa-based MediaStyle has opened up a new collaborative workspace, called The Commons, to provide high level training for students, charitable organizations and not-for-profits through a series of scholarship opportunities.

“I feel like a lot of businesses have trouble figuring out if their advertising or marketing experts are actually working,” said MediaStyle creative director Ian Capstick, an OBJ Forty under 40 recipient in 2015. “I think one of the key things we’re seeking to do with the commons space is to provide a whole host of different styles, lessons, workshops and events that allows business people to dig into questions that I, as a professional marketer, think about every day.”

MediaStyle bills itself as a full-service communications agency which aims to put the unions and not-for-profits it works for on the cutting edge of marketing and communications. Their mandate is to help organizations affect change through business. Mr. Capstick said giving back to the community is one of its key priorities.

The workspace at the firm's Bank Street office comes as a result of the work MediaStyle has done facilitating and creating open spaces for more than seven years. The space is a communications solutions lab where Ottawa organizations, non-profits and corporations can come together in facilitated meetings to think about their communications problems differently.

MediaStyle’s social communications scholarships are offered on a case-by-case basis. Post-secondary students and small local businesses without the capacity to perform marketing are encouraged to take a short survey on MediaStyle’s webpage to determine their eligibility.

The meeting times in The Commons have specific outcomes in mind, something which the MediaStyle team uses to differentiate their facilitated events from typical networking events. Upcoming programming for attendees will include everything from optimizing their iPhone and examining developments in the field of communications to evening social events, lunch and learns with keynote speakers, ask an expert interactions and an indigenous speaker series.

The goal for The Commons is to provide opportunities to many different kinds of people who may not have large communications budgets.

“I think the key to the long term success of the commons space is the diversity of the participants that we invite and are able to bring into it. That’s why the scholarships and informal events in that space are incredibly important,” said Mr. Capstick. “Networking and connections don’t always happen with business cards being traded in fancy hotel ballrooms. Sometimes it needs to be a little bit more organic, natural and authentic.”

Organizations: The Commons

Geographic location: Ottawa

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